In the land of beaches and theme parks, craft beer is king.

 

Thanks to Cigar City Brewing owner, Joey Redner Jr., Tampa Bay has become a haven for beer lovers, geeks and connoisseurs alike.

Cigar City Brewing has taken over the craft beer scene in Florida, in a land where Budweiser has reigned supreme for decades.  Their dedication to Tampa Bay history, and their collaborative work with other local businesses has set them apart from their competition.

“We like to work with other local businesses in the area and support the community as much as possible,” Neil Callaghan, Tasting Room Manager at Cigar City Brewing, said.  “We work with companies like Buddy Brew, a local coffee beanery and roasting house, who roasts a coffee bean just for us to use in our beers.”

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The gift shop at Cigar City Brewing features Buddy Brew Coffee and locally made, beer flavored hand soaps .

 

The coffee from Buddy Brew is used in an award-winning beer called the Cubano Espresso Brown Ale as well as a few others.  Cigar City also work with other local vendors, including a local soap making company, that makes beer flavored soap for the brewery gift shop.

These are the taps for the core beers that Cigar City Brewing makes. The two taps in the middle feature figures of Joey Redner Jr. and Wayne Wambles. Redner is the founder of Cigar City and Wambles is the head brewer.
The taps for the core beers that Cigar City Brewing makes. The two taps in the middle feature figures of Joey Redner Jr. and Wayne Wambles. Redner is the founder of Cigar City and Wambles is the head brewer.

Cigar City also is involved with numerous charities in the Tampa Bay Area.  Their most recent charity event had some of the employees do something special for a great cause.

“Last week every employee had a huge beard but we all shaved them off for a charity event,” Callaghan said.  “It was to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer foundation. It was a great event that Cigar City was proud to be a part of.

Cigar City beers are sold all over the state of Florida now in your local gas stations and grocery stores.
Cigar City beers are sold all over the state of Florida now in your local gas stations and grocery stores.

The 6th annual Veredus|HAYS Cut for a Cure Charity Challenge got these brewers and bartenders to shave off their precious beards, which for many have become a rite of passage in the industry.

The gift shop at Cigar City which features local skateboards made by the Skatepark of Tampa.
The gift shop at Cigar City features local skateboards made by the Skatepark of Tampa.

Cigar City has become a leader in the community and a great business that leads by example.  Their beer is pretty darn good too.  They recently got voted the fourth best brewery in the entire world.

The very first brewery in the state of Florida, the Florida Brewery, located in Ybor City.
The very first brewery in the state of Florida, the Florida Brewery, located in Ybor City.

Local brewery informs beer lovers

 

 

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Some of Yuengling’s offerings
People lining up at the brewery
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The Yuengling bar area
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Visitors enjoying the tour
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Free beer samples

Although  D.G. Yuengling and Sons began selling beer in Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1829, this Tampa brewery has been making a southern name for itself and the Yuengling brand since 1999.

Hospitality Manager and brew house tour guide Elizabeth Moroney has been with Tampa’s branch from the start. When she left her job as an RN for a pediatrician in 1999, she says that the Yuengling sales force consisted of her loading six-packs into her car, and driving around Tampa asking restaurants to try the new beer in town.

Now, she says “People are crying out for this product. We are like the Coors of the 21st century now.”

Yuengling is keeping up with the demands as a “21st century Coors” beer company with the release of the Summer Wheat beer, a seasonal brew currently available on the Florida market. Although the beer made its debut in 2014, its recipe has since been tweaked for the 2015 summer season.

Yuengling tour guide Bredon Hobson explains, “It’s the first time we’ve ever done a wheat beer. We kind of got it a little bit smoother.”

Fellow tour guide Maureen Brake says “The impression of [the Summer Wheat] this year is very positive.” She says that those who are sampling the beer at the end of their brewery tour “are definitely asking where they can go about finding the product and how they can find it in the market.”

Brake also told me this is not the only exciting development at Yuengling. The company has plans to release yet another seasonal beer this November.  It will join the Summer Wheat and the Octoberfest on the list of Yuengling seasonal beers.

Brake says “Our brew-master developed it almost six years ago, it’s his baby.”

However, further details about this addition to the Yuengling beer menu, including its ingredients, recipe and name are still tightly bottled up.

Brake says “I don’t know if they’ve released the name of it yet, I think it’s secret. But we’ve tried it.”

And Moroney and Brake say they like it. Brake was actually recruited as a tour guide by Moroney in 2010. Brake says that teaching new tour guides is her favorite part of the job.

She says “Teaching them what I do and doing it well, and taking pride in the company is important to me.”

Moroney says she enjoys “the versatility of the job, working for a great company. It’s a family owned company, which makes a big difference.”

Brake says “Yuengling of Tampa specifically offers a very relaxed environment that is just fun.”

Those of legal age interested in visiting the Yuengling brewery of Tampa and doing what Brake says is “something that’s different and unique” can visit http://www.yuengling.com/breweries/tampa for more information on brewery tour times and Yuengling news. The website is also equipped with a “Beer Finder” to help customers locate the Summer Wheat or any beer near them.

 

Tampa Bay Brewing Company Expands

Tampa Bay Brewing Company is expanding their business with a new restaurant and brewery in Westchase. Construction is underway on site and the expected date of completion is spring of 2015.

The brewery will be 13,000 square feet and the indoor and outdoor restaurant will be a combined 7,000 square feet. It is nearly 16 times bigger than the brewery they are in now. The new brewery will feature six fermenters, two bright tanks, a water treatment facility and a complete packaging line.

“When we started designing this project the goal was to take what we have in Ybor, with a great restaurant and great food, and replicate it over here in the Westchase location,” said Mike Doble, owner of Tampa Bay Brewing Company.

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The Tampa Bay Brewing Company offers up to 12 beers on tap at any one time. The most popular beer on tap is old elephant foot IPA which ranks in at 7 percent alcohol and has a very hoppy taste. Following closely behind is reef donkey which ranks in at 5.5 percent alcohol and has citrus notes.

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It wouldn’t be a brewpub without food. Tampa Bay Brewing Company serves a lot of traditional pub dishes. Head Chef John Boyle is infusing several entrees such as their signature meatloaf and shepherd’s pie with the beer they brew. Each week they have a special menu for Friday and Saturday nights. Boyle prepares all the meat himself by trimming each piece. This week it was lamb.

“All of the food here is good,” Boyle said. “I mean it really is. Whatever palate is yours, I mean I don’t think anyone would come in this restaurant and it would be a hard decision for them of what they would want to eat,” said Boyle.

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Customers can sign up for the mug club membership. Pay your annual dues and you will receive your own t-shirt and mug as well as discounts on the beer.

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The Doble family started the brewpub back in 1995. Tampa Bay Brewing Company is the oldest brewpub in the state of Florida and it lies in Centro Ybor on 8th street. It features an indoor and outdoor seating area and you can check out the people making the beer because the brewery is located inside the restaurant. Once you open the two double doors, your nose is greeted with the great smell of beer.

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